EV battery recycling in India

  Aug 18, 2020

EV battery recycling in India

Q. Why is it in News?

A.  Recently Delhi government has announced its new electric vehicle policy to incentivize adoption of electric vehicles, this has brought notice of environmentalist and field experts to recycling of electric vehicle batteries.

 Electric vehicles (EV) are a part of the new normal as the global transportation sector undergoes a paradigm shift, with a clear preference towards cleaner and greener vehicles.

Like its western counterparts and China, India has pushed the mandate for EVs as well, through schemes such as Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) I and FAME II.

EV sales in the country are expected to grow annually at a compound annual growth rate of 35 per cent till 2026, according to a market survey by news daily Economic Times.

Q. Which Type of battery is used in Powering the EVs?

A. Initially, EVs were powered with lead-acid batteries. Lithium-ion batteries that include other chemical moieties like cobalt, graphite and nickel now form the heart of an EV.

At the end of the battery lifespan, what remains is battery waste, comprising enormous amounts of chemicals such as cobalt, electrolytes, lithium, manganese oxide and nickel.

Q What are some challenges for India in field of battery waste? 

Q. What are legal provisions of recycling of battery? 

Q. What are threats posed by un-recycled batteries? 

Q. What are some Global precedence over batteries regulation ?

A. Several nations are ahead of the curve and have mandated legislations that deal with battery recycling and treatment:

(1) EU Batteries Directive

The Batteries Directive was issued by the European Union to minimise the negative impact of batteries and accumulators on the environment.

The Batteries Directive broke down the different stages of the process of collection and recycling of waste batteries and issued directions on how each of these must be performed.

(2) Germany

Germany puts a legal obligation on producers to collect their products from the consumer and deposit them in containers managed by the GRS Batterien Foundation.

It is set up by leading battery manufactures and the German Electrical and Electronics Industry Association in 1998.

It ensures collected waste is segregated and sorted according to electrochemical composition leading to efficient extraction of materials that can be recovered and recycled.

(3) Japan

The Japan Battery Recycling Centre (JBRC), established in 2004, is a producer-responsibility organisation that helps keep the process of recycling waste batteries going.

Consumers and offices  that utilise technology running on batteries  discharge delivery to collection sites placed with retailers who register with the JBRC as co-operation shops for recycling.

The collection sites facilitate segregation of the batteries by providing four different types of labels for four different types of batteries.

Q. Where does India stand among these?

A. The Indian e-waste legal regime underwent a tremendous change over time and has only recently embraced EPR and collection of e-waste.

A lack of clear scientific guidelines and regulations tailor-made for li-ion batteries, however, leads to poor return of investments in setting up recycling units, as it is a capital-intensive initiative.

In October 2019, the framing of a much-awaited recycling policy was proposed by the Union government.

It is, however, still awaited. The first step to creating a circular economy for EV batteries is to expand our laws to include li-ion battery chemistries.

Q. What needs to be done?